8 Impressive Quinoa Appetizer Recipes

With its fluffy texture and high protein content, quinoa has become a popular ingredient in many kinds of dishes in recent years. Quinoa — a type of seed prepared and eaten much like a grain, Forbes reports — makes a particularly useful addition to appetizer dishes, as it sits lightly in the stomach, keeping friends and family satiated without spoiling their appetites for the upcoming meal. It’s a versatile ingredient in delightful starter dishes like fritters, stuffed mushrooms, and spring rolls.

Try quinoa in any of these eight appetizers for a fluffy, nutrient-rich dish before dinnertime.

Coconut flakes, truffle, appetizer

Source: iStock

1. Coconut-Crusted, Brie-Stuffed Quinoa Bites With Sweet Cranberries

The flavor combinations in these Coconut-Crusted, Brie-Stuffed Quinoa Bites With Sweet Cranberries from Half Baked Harvest are irresistible, from their creamy brie fillings to their breadcrumb-and-coconut flake coatings. Inside, the brie is cradled in a delicate quinoa-bean base and will come out of your oven oozing cheesy goodness. Sweet cranberries complement the mild brie wonderfully, and the snack is best enjoyed at their warmest and gooiest — just don’t burn your mouth! The recipe takes 40 minutes to make and yields 28 to 30 bites. To make ahead of time, simply assemble 1 to 2 days in advance and bake directly before serving, rewarming cranberries on stove or in microwave. Note: If you’re not a fan of coconut, Half Baked Harvest recommends subbing in more breadcrumbs, or even crumbled-up potato chips.

Ingredients:

Quinoa bites

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup cannellini beans, mashed
  • ½ cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ cup blue cheese, finely crumbled (or mozzarella or goat cheese)
  • 1 (8-ounce) wheel of brie, chilled

For coating

  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tablespoon coconut milk or buttermilk
  • ¾ cup breadcrumbs
  • ¾ cup coconut, sweetened or unsweetened

Sweet cranberries

  • 2 cups fresh cranberries
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ cup water
  • Zest of one orange
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped (optional)
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • Salt, to taste

Directions: Place the round of brie in the freezer while you make the cranberries and quinoa mixture.

Add cranberries, brown sugar, honey, water, and half of the orange zest to a medium saucepan; stir to combine. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside until ready to serve.

In the meantime, combine the quinoa, mashed cannellini beans, bread crumbs, egg, garlic, salt, and pepper. Mix well to moisten the ingredients and then mix in the crumbled blue cheese. Mix well again and form into 28 to 30 equal balls. Place on a plate and put in the fridge.

Preheat oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit.

Remove the brie from the freezer and dice it into 28 to 30 equal chunks. Some may be bigger than others, but in general, aim for the same size. Grab the quinoa balls and, working with one at a time, push one cube of brie into the middle of the ball and form the quinoa into a smooth ball around the brie, making sure all of the brie is covered. Repeat with the remaining balls. The cubes of brie may seem big for the size of the balls, but you want lots of brie! If you find that a few of you brie cubes are just too big, cut them in half.

Place the remaining ¾ cup panko bread crumbs, ¾ cup shredded coconut, and a good pinch of pepper in a shallow bowl. Add the eggs and buttermilk to another shallow bowl. Dip the balls through the egg and then carefully coat them in the coconut. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat with the remaining balls. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, just until the tops of the balls begin to brown. Do not bake longer than 15 minutes, or all the brie will ooze out.

Peppers stuffed with tuna

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2. Mini Mexican Quinoa-Stuffed Cherry Peppers

Warm yourself up with the flavors of Mexico in these Mini Quinoa-Stuffed Cherry Peppers, a dish laced with spices and hearty veggies! The recipe works wonderfully as is, but it also works with a dash of creativity. Throw in any vegetables that strike your fancy! J.J. Begonia adds that if you carefully wrap the peppers after preparation, you can freeze them before baking and cook them at a later date. The recipe takes 50 minutes to complete and yields 8 to 10 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 25 to 30 cherry peppers, tops removed, peppers seeded
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil and an extra drizzle
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 small zucchini, diced
  • ½ pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • ½ cup fresh or frozen sweet corn
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (additional) teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 package cheddar cheese curds
  • Sour cream, optional

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Cook the quinoa according to package directions, with the vegetable stock and chili powder mixed into the cooking liquid.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet set over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, and pepper to the pan, and cook for approximately 5 minutes, until softened. Add the zucchini, tomatoes, corn, garlic, and spices to the pan; cook for an additional 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the cooked quinoa to the vegetable mixture and combine.

Drizzle two baking sheets with olive oil.

Fill the seeded peppers to the top with the quinoa. Gently place a cheese curd in the center and cover lightly with the quinoa. Continue until all of the peppers are stuffed.

Bake for approximately 25 to 30 minutes, until the cheese has melted and the peppers are cooked through, yet still holding their shape. Garnish with sour cream, if desired.

Vegetable patties

Source: iStock

3. Crispy Quinoa Sliders

These Crispy Quinoa Sliders will change the life of anyone with an affinity for textured eats. The edges of these quinoa and chickpea patties crisp up exquisitely in the oven, while coarsely chopped chickpeas and carrots add further variety to the texture. The dish is incredibly versatile and can be gobbled up in salads, sandwiches, or even on its own as a side dish with ketchup or another condiment of your choosing. The recipe takes 45 minutes to complete and yields 12 sliders. Note: To save time, you may wish to prepare the quinoa component 1 to 2 days in advance.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas
  • ½ cup freshly grated provolone cheese
  • ¼ cup panko bread crumbs
  • ½ cup chopped carrots
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large egg and 1 egg white, lightly beaten
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 12 multigrain slider buns or dinner rolls
  • 2 avocados, sliced for topping
  • ½ cup chipotle mayo, for topping

Directions: Add quinoa and stock to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover, cooking for 15 minutes or until it can be fluffed with a fork.

While quinoa is cooking, slice the green onions, chop the carrots, mince the garlic, and grate the cheese. Place it all in a bowl, then add panko and mix. Coarsely chop the chickpeas and add to the bowl. Once quinoa is finished cooking, add it to the bowl and mix well until incorporated. If needed, let cool or place in the fridge for a few minutes to cool. Add in beaten egg and egg white, salt, and pepper, and mix well. Form into patties that fit the size of the buns you have.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add 1½ tablespoons olive oil. Once hot, add 5 to 6 quinoa patties and cook until deeply golden brown and crispy, about 5 minutes. Gently flip and cook 5 minutes more. Remove and continue with remaining olive oil and patties. Serve with sliced avocado and chipotle mayo.

Quinoa meatballs

Source: iStock

4. Asian Quinoa Meatballs

These meatballs are one part turkey, one part quinoa, and equal parts delicious and protein-packed! Damn Delicious adds further character to the Asian-inspired dish with distinctive ingredients such as soy sauce, sesame oil, and Sriracha for a final kick. These Asian Quinoa Meatballs are then smothered in a flavorful brown sugar, ginger, sesame, and vinegar sauce — be sure to set that leftover sauce alone to enjoy with future rice dishes or leftover quinoa. This will take 35 minutes to make and yields 20 meatballs.

Ingredients:

For the quinoa meatballs

  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • ¾ cup cooked quinoa
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced, plus more for garnish
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha, or more, to taste
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Sesame seeds, for garnish

For the sauce

  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha, or more, to taste
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly oil a 9-by-13-inch baking dish or coat with nonstick spray.

In a large bowl, combine ground turkey, quinoa, garlic, onions, egg, soy sauce, sesame oil, Sriracha, salt, and pepper, to taste. Using a wooden spoon or clean hands, stir until well combined. Roll the mixture into 1¼- to 1½-inch meatballs, forming about 18 to 20 meatballs.

Place meatballs onto the prepared baking dish and bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until all sides are browned and meatballs are cooked through.

To make the sauce, whisk together soy sauce, rice vinegar, ginger, sugar, sesame oil, Sriracha, and ½ cup water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat.

In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water. Stir into soy sauce mixture until thickened, about 2 minutes. Serve meatballs immediately with sauce, garnished with green onion and sesame seeds.

Quiona

Source: iStock

5. Quinoa Pizza Bites

These bite-size pizza morsels are baked to a delightfully chewy consistency. Jessica in the Kitchen tops them off with a layer of broiled cheese, adding a bit of crispy-crunchy perfection to the mix. The simple recipe takes just 20 minutes to make and yields 12 servings of wonderful Quinoa Pizza Bites — an ideal finger food for any party or gathering.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • ½ cup shredded cheese and 2 tablespoons of cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons marinara sauce
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Marinara sauce, for dipping

Directions: Mix ½ cup uncooked and washed quinoa with 1¼ cups water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil first and then lower heat. Cook the quinoa for about 15 minutes until fluffy; it will result in about 1½ cups of cooked quinoa.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 12-mini muffin tin pan. Mix together all of the ingredients. Put a tablespoon into each muffin tin, packing them in.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, then remove from oven and top with remaining 2 tablespoons of cheese. Broil for about 1 minute. After broiling, allow to cool on a wire rack for about 15 minutes, and then remove from pan. Serve with marinara sauce.

Stuffed mushrooms, vegetables

Source: iStock

6. Quinoa and Veggie Stuffed Mushrooms

These Quinoa and Veggie Stuffed Mushrooms are a hearty and delightful dish that guests are sure to enjoy. They’re brimming with spinach, quinoa, and roasted red peppers, all flavored delicately with garlic and rosemary. The bite-size snacks are vegetarian and gluten-free, making them a dish that can be enjoyed by so many kinds of eaters. If you’ll be pinched for time on a party day, consider preparing these 1 to 2 days ahead of time, then popping them in the oven about 30 minutes before guests arrive. Greatist’s recipe yields 24 bite-size stuffed mushrooms.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 24 button mushrooms, stems removed and finely chopped, caps set aside
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary
  • ¾ cup roasted red peppers (about 2 peppers), diced
  • ½ cup baby spinach, shredded
  • ½ cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, plus additional for topping
  • Salt
  • Fresh ground pepper

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil and set aside. Heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Sauté shallot until translucent (but not browned), 3 to 4 minutes.

Add diced mushroom stems, garlic, and rosemary, and season with salt and pepper. Cook about 5 minutes more, until juices from mushrooms have evaporated. Stir in the peppers, spinach, and quinoa. Add vinegar and cook until fully absorbed.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the Parmesan cheese. Taste and season with salt and pepper, as necessary. Use a small spoon to fill mushroom caps. Arrange on the baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve warm.

Potato blini, quinoa, smoked salmon

Source: iStock

7. Potato Blini With Quinoa and Smoked Salmon

Impress guests with these freshly cooked potato pancakes, each topped off with a bit of quinoa and the distinctive taste of smoked salmon. Mixing your quinoa up with tapenade (homemade or store bought) will add a tasteful touch to the blend. Finishing these bites off with a touch of dill garnish will complete the elegant taste of these bites. Pham Fatale’s recipe for Potato Blini With Quinoa and Smoked Salmon yields 28 appetizers. To save time, consider preparing the quinoa-tapenade mix 1 to 2 days prior to serving.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 5 ounces fromage blanc
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ½ cup crème fraîche or sour cream, as needed
  • 1 (2-inch) piece leek (green part only), thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • ¼ cup tapenade
  • 3 slices smoked salmon, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill

Directions: For the quinoa – In a bowl, combine the tapenade, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and the quinoa. Adjust seasoning. Plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator until you are ready to assemble.

For the potato blini – Peel the potatoes and wash. Place them in a large saucepan filled with water and boil them for 20 to 22 minutes until tender. Once fork-tender, remove from the saucepan and drain; allow the potatoes to cool a little.

Coarsely grate the potatoes using a cheese grater. Mash the shredded potatoes with the flour and turmeric powder.

Separate the eggs in 2 separate bowls, yolks in one and whites in the other. Using a handheld mixer, whisk the egg yolks with sugar until you get a pale, yellow foam. Add cayenne pepper. Season with salt and pepper. Add the egg mixture and fromage blanc to the potato mixture. The consistency of the blini batter should be similar to pancake batter.

For the egg whites, add salt and whisk with a clean handheld blender until you get stiff peaks (don’t over-mix or it will become grainy). The egg whites should stick right up. Add one-third of the egg whites to the potato mixture and stir with a spatula to make sure the batter is uniform. Then gently fold in the rest of the egg whites.

Place a hot, flat, nonstick griddle pan — or any flat pan such as a cast-iron griddle — over medium heat. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil, add the leeks, and cook until fragrant. Transfer the leeks with the oil to a small bowl. Let the leeks cool a little and transfer to the blini batter.

Using the same griddle pan, brush with more oil if necessary; add a little mound (about 1 tablespoon) of the batter into the pan. Try to make a round shape. Using the back of the spoon, even out the thickness of the pancake. Lower the heat to medium-low. Leave it alone for about 1 to 2 minutes. When you see the edges start to dry and get firm, take a small flat spatula and lift around the edges; it should be golden. Flip it over and cook for another 2 minutes until golden. Cook 6 to 7 blini at a time. Transfer to a cooling rack. Repeat the same procedure until all the batter is used.

Even out the edges of the blini using a (2-inch diameter) circle cutter.

To assemble – Place the potato blini on a serving platter. Place a little mound of the tapenade quinoa, using the quenelle method. Using 2 teaspoons, gather one portion of the quinoa mixture in one spoon. Scrape the loose mixture from the sides using the other spoon. Repeat until the quinoa is tightly packed, playing with the 2 spoons. Top with a dollop of crème fraîche. Garnish with a piece of smoked salmon and dill.

Vietnamese spring rolls with quinoa

Source: iStock

8. Sesame-Ginger Quinoa Spring Rolls

Draw from Asian inspirations with these Sesame-Ginger Quinoa Spring Rolls from Naturally Ella. Stuffing these rolls with Asian greens (Naturally Ella recommends Mizuna) — available at any Asian market and even some grocery stores — gives them a delightful and refreshing crisp. These little rolls are packed with a lot of flavor, deriving from notes of soy sauce, garlic, and ginger in the dressing. Quinoa gives them their last loaded kick to keep you and your family satisfied until supper. The recipe takes 25 minutes to make and yields 6 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1½ cups water
  • 4 handfuls of Asian greens
  • 6 to 8 rice paper wrappers

Dressing

  • ¼ cup sunflower oil
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil

Directions: Soak quinoa in water for 15 minutes. Drain, add back to the pot, and add in water. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce to a simmer, and let cook for 15 minutes.

While quinoa cooks, cut up the greens and whisk together the ingredients for the dressing. Once quinoa is done cooking, combine the quinoa, greens, and dressing in a bowl.

To assemble the spring rolls, fill a square pan with water and soak a rice wrapper for 30 seconds or until it begins to soften. Remove and place a scant 1 cup of the filling on the wrapper, fold the edges over, and roll into the spring roll. Continue until all the filling has been used.

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